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24 March 2009 @ 09:00 pm
Going Too Far by Jennifer Echols  
Publisher: Pocket Books/MTV Books
Genre: Romance
Sub-genre: YA, Contemporary
Rating: 4 pints of blood PhotobucketPhotobucketPhotobucketPhotobucket

Meg's a wild, rebellious girl who has panic attacks at being confined by as much as a seat belt. Her mother still cries over her and her father has washed his hands of her and her (currently) blue hair. She has just a few months left of high school to go and then she can escape the small town and move to the city to go to uni. And the one thing she's looking forward to before that can happen is the March Break trip to Mexico.

Which is ruined by one night's stupid decision. Along with her pot-addled "boyfriend" Eric and two friends from school, Tiffany and Brian, Meg is arrested for trespassing on a train bridge - which killed two kids several years ago. While Eric's hot-shot lawyer father gets him off, the other three are made to spend the March Break week with the ambulance, fire brigade and police - and guess which one Meg gets.

Not only does she have to spend five nights on the graveyard shift riding around in a cop car, but she has to spend them with the very same cop who arrested them: John After. Handsome John with the "Matt Damon" body, who turns out to be nowhere near as old as Meg had assumed. He chose to stay in the town, to serve and protect and save teenagers from stupid choices, but Meg pushes him to question the things he abides by - and he pushes back. As they both confront each other the chemistry coalesces and thickens, and something new is forged.

"Chemistry" is the Big Word for this novel. It has shovel-fuls of it. Meg is a spunky, smart, inherently vulnerable girl with a sharp, hard exterior. John is more complicated than he seems, and the character development is beautifully explored as layers are revealed and they both become very real in your mind.

The plot is a simple premise to get these two together, and it has that small-town ring of truth to it; it's the people who are complicated. Narrated by Meg, her voice has that same hard, spiky exterior behind which she hides her compassion and interest in others - you get to know her and yet she keeps you at a distance at the same time. It's John who breaks through that exterior, and him we follow as Meg learns to accept herself. Nothing's easy, of course, and the revelation (one of two; the last one) at the end - while hinted at, or something you could guess - had a similar impact on me as it did on Meg.

I have to draw your attention back to the romance and chemistry again. If you, like me, loved Twilight and similar books for the chemistry between the two main characters, and you'd like more of that intense thrill, then you absolutely have to read this. It's not the same, but it has that same quality that breathes off the page. Somewhere out there, John and Meg are living their lives. Sweet and charming, heart-warming and sexy, Going Too Far is a book to read in one sitting: not just because it's a fast read, but because you won't want to put it down.
janicujanicu on March 25th, 2009 06:53 pm (UTC)
Gah. I have too many books to read already.. *adding to list*.
Shannonaurillia on March 25th, 2009 10:39 pm (UTC)
Hee hee! *rubs hands with glee* :)
sharingmystory on March 26th, 2009 02:50 pm (UTC)
I'm not usually a fan of YA but you've got me intrigued on this one ...